Greater Victoria residents asked to stay out of water at 2 locations due to wastewater discharge

Greater Victoria residents asked to stay out of water at 2 locations due to wastewater discharge
© David Horemans/CBC Two shorelines in Greater Victoria have had signage posted along beaches after heavy rains caused wastewater to be discharged directly into the ocean.

Residents in Greater Victoria are being advised not to enter the water at two shoreline locations due to wastewater discharge after heavy rain.

The two affected shorelines are between Tarn Place and Seaview Road (Cadboro Bay), and between Radcliffe Lane and Trafalgar Park (McNeil Bay).

Warning signs have been put up at beaches in both areas, and will only be removed after tests confirm bacteria levels are below acceptable levels.

Matthew McCrank, senior manager of wastewater infrastructure operations at the Capital Regional District, said the sewer system in the region would normally direct wastewater to the McLoughlin Point Treatment Plant.

However, he said combined storm water and wastewater levels overwhelmed a few pump stations and the combined flow had to be discharged directly into the ocean.

“We don’t remove that signage … until we’ve sampled the marine environment and determined that the bacteria levels are acceptable or below the recreational limits,” he said.

“[That] is 70 enterococci units per 100 millilitres, which usually is about three or four days after the storm event has passed.”

With more storms on the horizon, McCrank said the water tests will likely not occur until after the heavy rain has fully stopped. That is likely to be later in the week.

McCrank said similar situations occur a handful of times every year, but had occurred three times this month alone after record-breaking rainfall.

“Certainly until it’s proven to be safe, out of an abundance of caution, we suggest that people don’t swim in the area or let their animals swim in the area.”

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